Update on the Slow Down, Move Over Initiative

January 16, 2017

The Issue: On June 1, 2009, a new regulation took effect to enhance the safety of emergency workers by requiring drivers to slow down and move over when passing parked emergency vehicles with flashing lights. In 2015, British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act regulation was changed to include maintenance workers, utility workers, land surveyors, animal control workers, and garbage collectors under the Slow Down and Move Over Legislation, which also protects operators of emergency and enforcement vehicles and tow trucks.

As critical as it is, however, this new regulation has had little effect. Drivers still fail to slow down and move over, putting the safety of emergency workers at unnecessary risk. Even more concerning, there has been inadequate enforcement and insufficient public awareness and education of the law.

A 2011 study conducted by the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission found that only five percent of drivers slow down and move over when passing a tow truck. The continuing failure to adequately enforce the law and educate the public places the health and safety of B.C. towers and other roadside workers at risk.

The Impact: In B.C., between 2005 and 2014, 15 workers were killed and another 223 injured from being hit by a motor vehicle while working on or beside the road.

In 2015, The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum added 36 new names to the Wall of the Fallen during its 9th annual ceremony. The ceremony honours towing operators who have died while in the line of service. In total, the Wall of the Fallen has nearly 400 names of men and women who have lost their lives serving the towing and road service industry. Statistically, one towing operator dies approximately every six days while on the job. Many of those who have lost their lives were struck by a vehicle while performing their duties.

ARA Position: The ARA believes that enhanced enforcement with a more comprehensive approach to educating the public is required to ensure the safety of B.C. towers and other roadside workers. The ARA is an advocate for the Slow Down, Move Over legislation through the following:

  • Continued active participation with the BC Work Zone Safety Alliance.
  • Advocating for stricter enforcement and penalties by amending the Motor Vehicle Act to allow for seven-day vehicle impoundment for vehicles driving 40 km over the reduced zone speed (e.g. 70 km reduced from 80 km and over zones, and 40 km reduced from under 80 km zones).Continued education and awareness media and social media campaigns
  • Continued work with media as issues arise.

Actions to Date

  • Sponsored the 2015 and 2016 Cloverdale Rodeo and Abbotsford Agri-fair Cone Zone Kart Trak.
  • Featured in a May 2, 2016 Global News article advocating the ARA’s position for increased education and enforcement.
  • Featured in a second Global News story concerning the Slow Down Move Over campaign after two drivers were struck by vehicles that failed to slow down and move over.

On March, 2, 2016, ARA President & CEO Ken McCormack presented at the BC Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Conference on the topic of Down Move Over, the ARA’s efforts to promote education and awareness, and our calls for stricter enforcement of the law.